What if we told you four words could immediately engage a B2B customer — even a reluctant customer — turning a sales pitch into a real conversation, and a waffling client into a long-term fan? That’s exactly the kind of magic Inc. contributing editor Geoffrey James promises from the phrase “just out of curiosity…”.
The phrase, James argues, “keeps the conversation going without making you seem like a jerk.” To illustrate his point, he offers the following imagined dialogue:
- Prospect: “I’m not interested.”
- You: I understand completely. Just out of curiosity, why aren’t you interested?”
“By saying ‘I understand completely’ you signal that you heard the no and that you respect it,” James explained. “Then, by leading with ‘Just out of curiosity…’, you’ve asked the prospect to educate you without questioning that decision.”
From there, James adds, one of three things can happen: 1) the person refuses to answer (in which case, you’re exactly where you were before); 2) the person shares information that’s a true “deal killer” (e.g. she is going out of business herself), and you move on; or 3) the prospect tells you her reason for turning you down — her budget is prohibitive, she’s working with one of your competitors — and then you have another opportunity to further engage. (Ahem: “I understand my proposal isn’t in your budget, but just out of curiosity” —there it is again — “what are your budget priorities?”)
Read the full article and get additional tips on the approach.